We all know the Texas Hill Country is a wonderful place to live and visit, with everything from its beautiful landscape, rich history, vibrant music scene, and friendly people. One setback, however, is that every winter a syndrome sweeps over this wonderful land making many ill. This is known as “Cedar Fever,” and it begins in December and typically runs through February.
Cedar Fever stems from inhaling the pollen from the local Mountain Cedar (MC) tree that pollinates in the months of November through March. Mountain Cedar is an evergreen tree with grey–brown shredding bark. It grows to a maximum height of approximately 30 feet on the limestone plateaus of Central Texas, the Texas Hill Country, and Austin, and in smaller favorable areas of Texas, New Mexico, Northern Mexico, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. When the trees are shaken or blown, the pollen falls off and gives a smoky appearance.
If you drive down Ranch Road 620 during the height of cedar fever season, you will see a haze that fills the valley. That is not pollution – it is the pollen rising from the trees! It is considered one of the most allergenic pollens in the country.
Cedar Fever is not actually an accurate name. You don’t get a true fever. Even though the inflammation of your allergies may slightly raise your temperature, it is not an infection. Many people experience an itchy, runny nose, sneezing, nasal blockage, excess tearing and itchy eyes, also known as hay fever (allergic rhinitis). Others complain of itching of the mouth, throat, or ears, and post–nasal drainage. Others experience fatigue, mild headache, facial discomfort, sore throat, partial loss of sense of smell, and sensation of ear plugging. If these symptoms persist they can eventually lead to infections of the sinuses, and can even make eczema and/or asthma worsen.
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